07 Dec 2016 18:30 IST

Pre-placement offers: a primer

Getting pre-placement offers through summer placements has its pros and cons. So, focus on learning

Everyone prefers certainty, especially when it comes to a job and job offers. “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” is a saying that captures this very aptly.

However, certainty also has a downside. Certainty tends to make us complacent and often stops us from exploring new opportunities for growth. I have seen this with many mid-level executives who perform well but become so complacent in their position in the company that they lose their edge. One such person got a rude shock when he had to look for another job as the company was shifting its base of operations and he could not relocate. At that point, this executive went through a severe crisis of self-confidence as he suddenly discovered that he had lost touch with even simple things like drafting a resume or handling an interview. This analogy is very relevant to anyone with a pre-placement offer.

The reality of management education is that it is aimed at landing a good job. The entire process of entrance exams, the two-year grind and so on, are all towards getting that coveted appointment letter. This is true for at least the majority of management students. Therefore, if the objective of the exercise is to get a good position, a pre-placement offer is like winning the prize after running only half the race.

Although it is definitely a great thing, and no organisation would hand out a pre-placement offer lightly, this also has its downsides.

Performance

The main downside is that, with an offer in hand, many people lose interest in the course and become perfunctory participants. This definitely impacts the students’ performance and, in some instances, the impact can be quite severe if the students end up getting poor grades. Even if the pre-placement is linked to grades and a person is working to ensure that the bare minimum is maintained, this is a risk.

The other problem is that the person gets shut out from other alternatives and choices. Most institutes do not allow students with a pre-placement offer to participate in the final placement process. It could very well be that in the period between the pre-placement and final placement, the economy has improved, new companies have entered the market, and so on. In such a scenario, a person with a pre-placement does not have the choice of even evaluating these alternatives.

Easy process

It should also be noted that summer placement selection is a relatively easier process than final placements. A person who has exposure to only the summer placement process would end up with little experience to face tough interviews or various other recruitment scenarios.

Last, the summer training is mainly intended for students to gain hands-on experience and incremental learning in a practical setting. Hence, the main reason why a person should not go into summer training with the objective of securing a pre-placement offer relates to the focus and priority. If a person starts to focus more on a possible pre-placement offer, he or she might work very hard but might also lose out on some crucial learning opportunities as the focus will always be task- and result-oriented.

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